For a while now, I’ve watched things heat up at the Capitol. Now, things are no longer just heating up; they’re red hot. And I’m experiencing the heat that comes directly from corporate interests.
You may have seen some television commercials or internet banners that have ricocheted through our district lately. They demand, “Tell Rep. Marcus McEntire ‘NO!’” on increasing taxes on the oil and gas industry. There’s a picture of my face and a handy, pre-filled-out form where you can email me and tell me to “stick to the principles [I] campaigned on.”
The policy OKOGA is talking about would raise the gross production tax on certain wells. Currently, those wells are subject to a 2 percent tax rate for the first 36 months. After that, the tax structure increases to 7 percent. There have been discussions to increase the entry-level percentage, but a formal bill had not been proposed by the end of last week.
Let me be clear: I have never made a public statement on my position regarding the gross production tax. Yet the Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association (OKOGA) has blasted my constituents with messaging suggesting otherwise.
I find OKOGA’s tactics disturbing and disingenuous. Before I arrived at the Capitol, veteran lawmakers warned me about the pressure that could come from corporate interests, and they were right. But I will not fold.
The president of OKOGA, Chad Warmington, would do well to remember that I represent the constituents of House District 50. Mr. Warmington does not live in our district, and I am not beholden to him.
At times, it feels like some lobbyists and interest groups roam the Capitol halls trying to bully members to vote a certain way. I cannot reinforce this enough: I will not be bullied into voting for or against any policy or piece of legislation. It’s crucial that you feel like you have a representative who cares about his constituents and is not easily swayed by fancy dinners coupled with personal attack ads. This situation with OKOGA has only reminded me how important having a strong backbone is in this job.
When I campaigned to be your state representative, I promised to represent you, my constituents. I heard your concerns and your desires for our district, and I vowed to do my level best to better our part of Oklahoma. I was not then, nor am I now, worried about losing your vote because of big oil. You cast your vote for me. Big oil did not.
Since Mr. Warmington and OKOGA brought up the gross production tax, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Should big oil pay more when reaping state resources? Let me know. You can call the Capitol at (405)557-7327 or email me at Marcus.McEntire@okhouse.gov. Thank you for your continued input on various proposed legislation. I take everything you say into account. God bless.